Strolling Through Geneva: Hits & Misses

While MINIs are our passion, it’s hard not to get excited about a show like Geneva. From the more mundane (but important) debuts such as the Audi A3 to the spectacular Ferrari F12 Geneva had just about everything. MINI showed well with the new Clubvan and the mean looking MINI Countryman JCW. Then there was the new limited edition MINI that debuted new trim and color options – notably Kite Blue.

Elsewhere on the floor Mercedes pulled the covers off of the new front wheel drive A class hatch that will compete more directly with the 1 Series (at least in looks and technology). To us it’s a huge improvement over the previous A Class but still not at the level of the rear wheel drive BMW F20. And it’s simply too large and dull to directly compete with MINI.

Speaking of premium FWD hatches, Audi showed off the new A3 which looks… a lot like the old one. And a lot like the A4. Which looks a lot like the A6 and the A8. The A1 Quattro on the other hand looks the business in every way possible. 250 bhp and all wheel drive is what many of our readers have been asking for and it looks like Audi is ready to deliver. The only problem is cost – even with the VAG incredible purchasing power the price is still eye watering at €49,900. That’s around $60k adjusted for taxes, currency etc.

For our money, the show stopper went to Ferrari this year with the F12 Belinetta. A 730 hp front engined GT, the F12 is rolling sculpture that just happens to be incredible fast.

So join us in a quick photo tour of the surprisingly small and packed show floor.

(Gallery after the break)

  • Is that Kite Blue Exclusive to that limited edition? Looks cool – almost Electric Blueish from the pictures.

    • Greg

      Yes, it is only the Bayswater special limited edition only. Although somehow MotoringFile configured a Kite Blue JCW Roadster which no one else on the planet could configure with the mini configurator. MotoringFile also never explained how they expected to order a Kite Blue Roadster because it lost out in the vote to a Black JCW Roadster. 

      • That’s why I was asking. I never got an answer when I asked on the article about MF’s Roadster.

        Thanks Greg.

  • Jon

    The biggest miss of the entire show has GOT to be the Bently SUV. Absolutely awful in every way. It’s like the Canyon-ero from that Simpsons episode many years ago…

    •  That’s a real classic (the Simpsons episode, that is):

    • Anonymous

      Worse off- The Gate stopped working during the reveal and they had to keep the bottom half up for the remainder as the system crapped out. The construction of the interior was also very shoddy with glue marks and pieces of wood that did not match- they were too busy making wheels with a billion spokes and gaudy headlights to care.

  • Havnap

    The 3rd image with the Kite Blue- what’s up with the top on that convertible -it almost looks silver. I know shows can do funky thing with lighting, but it’s almost too shiny to have been black.  

  • Ireallydidntwanttobethatguy

    Please don’t get me wrong: I’m an avid MINI motor-er/enthusiast, but you mentioned above that the A3 looks like the A4/A6/A8 etc… yet MINI has kept an iconic design throughout every range, from the Clubman to the Countryman (even with the additional doors, and taller, wider stance). 

    Not that I’m for or against Audi, I guess I just don’t understand why the article seems to dis the new A3 for looking relatively to it’s predecessor and siblings. If anything, as we’ve seen in MINI, consistency in a brand can work.

    • hfred

      When I read that about the Audi models, all the look-alike BMW models came to mind. Okay, I’m not very discerning, but 3-series, 5-series, 7-series all look the same until I see the badging.

    • Aurel

      Audi really seems to be on top of their game. Their entire line looks fantastic. They might not drive as well as a BMW but they certainly look lust worthy. Best of the German 3 in my opinion.

    • Anonymous

      The A3 does nothing to move it forward in terms of looks. Every MINI or BMW now has a significant difference. There is the family resemblance Kidneys, Hoffmeister, and L shaped tails on BMWs but there are variations in the rest of the look and those elements. The Audis are nearly indistinguishable. Stateside we have an A3 (BMW doesn’t offer a hatch and the Countryman wasn’t out yet) and the new car is basically the same for a complete redesign- that is playing it safe and not moving design language along that gets old fast. 

      MINI is not consistent- hence why there is the R53 vs R56 battle still going on as far as styling. The design is moving forward.

      • Ididntwantobethatguyagain

        I’ve got to disagree with the statements you made completely. As Aurel said, Audi’s entire line looks fantastic, and proves that consistency works. 

        To prove Audi has something going for them, every BMW began evolve into “the new generation of BMW” by 2008(-ish) forward. Every BMW I’ve been in (loaners, owners, and my own 328i), seem to be very consistent. On the road, I can barely tell the difference between a 5 and 7 (and soon to be 3) series. 

        I’m not saying that keeping BMW consistent is a bad thing, especially because it works (just look at the sales data). I’m just saying when I read “there variations in the rest of (BMW’s) look and those elements”, I don’t see it. 

        I’m not for sure what you mean by “MINI is not consistent”… I suppose MINI had a redesign (R53-R56), but they’ve always had the contrasting roof, center speedo, bulldog stance, and MINI-qualities. 

        Since the 2007 redesign, every single MINI model has the exact same design both inside and out. Sure the CM has a different body, and the clubman has a different rear, but come on, talk about consistency within a brand. Even MINI owners were disappointed with the 2011 refresh.

        If anyone is influencing consistency, it’s Audi. As the A3 molds in with the new A#’s (+R8), you can’t deny that Audi has a great lineup for 2012-2013. In fact, as next year is a going to be a new car buying year for me, I’ve got my eye on a Q5.

        Either way you look at it, whether you’re lover for Audi or BMW, consistency has been an effective way to keep the brand’s iconic designs.

        Unfortunately I’m not going to a similar opinion from someone who writes for  BimmerFile, and that makes sense.

        • Hemisedan

          I agree with the consistency with all, Audi, BMW and Mini.  As for the 2-11 refresh, sure Mini could have done more, but I’m very happy with my 2011 JCW Hatch.  Back to Audi:  If Audi would offer the -1 here in the States, that would have been on my short list.  Some may call it a up scale VW, but there looks like more to it to me.  Style and to me VW even the new R series doesn’t have it.  Mini owners bitch about JCW’s look to much like the rest of the Hatches on the road, think about VW GTI or even the R series when it gets here.  Talk about plain, but they do have  beautiful interior, I do admit.

          I think that consistency in the line is good for car manufacturers in both appearance and especially in driveability.  That’s all.

        • Anonymous

          I am not afraid to call out BMW- been doing it for years. In my discussions recently with some designers in the business they noted that the A8 has lost sales to the A6 and Audi is going to add some differences to the front to separate them a bit more – In Europe (Audi doesn’t sell squat in the US compared to BMW, Lexus, and MB) people do not leave the badges on and what they are finding is that the consumer can’t justify the up tick without some more substance but A6 sales are up, meanwhile the S Classe and 7er are doing very well, even with the 7 due for its refresh it is still best in class and easily distinguishable from the front, sides and rear from the 5.

          Here is a review of the Q5 from back in ’09

          Today I will say that the newer to market X3 drives circles around the Q5, and the new iDrive is better than the older MMI in the Q5 (same company builds the MMI and iDrive now). With the X3 getting the N20 turbo 4 and the rocker to switch suspension settings this month it is even more compelling.

  • I have never been a Boxster fan but this redesign is really well done. Can’t wait to see the Cayman.

  • JonPD

    Still not getting the visual “mean looking MINI” with a fairly plain looking black R60 with some red stripes and details, actually broadly speaking looks like every R60 to my eyes.

    • hfred

      “Tastelessly overcooked,” but not “mean.”

  • Anonymous

    I really like how those black headlight bezels (sp?) help to “tone-down” the MINI headlights.

    I wonder if they are available aftermarket & if they would be difficult to change out on my 2008 Clubman.